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Reviving old furniture with color: A quick guide to refinishing and repainting

refinishing furnitureIf you want to update a room, switching out furniture is always a quick way to make a big impact. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to throw out what you already have. Chances are, all you need to do is give your existing furniture a new finish or a fresh coat of paint.

In this post, I’m going to give you tips on how to revive your outdated furniture through refinishing and repainting. I’ll also provide ideas on what types of furniture are prime candidates for refinishing and what types of colors will elevate your living spaces.

Choosing the Right Furniture and Shade

First off, look around your house. What items could use a bit of an update? Anything made with wood can be refinished and repainted. This includes wicker chairs, frames, closets, cabinets, desks, bookshelves, doors – the list is endless! In fact, any item with a smooth surface, like a mason jar, folding chair, or chandelier is fair game for refinishing. Survey your home and try to see what items could use a good old paint job.

When choosing the right color, think outside of neutrals like black, white, and gray. Instead, go with something fun! Colors like aqua or celestial blue, lime green, apple red, salmon pink, or teal are bold choices. Paired with neutrals, your newly painted furniture will make the room pop and fill it with personality.

Furnishing and Painting 101

Repainting can be a fun weekend project, but if you don’t take the necessary precautions, it may not turn out exactly how you envision. Here’s a quick guide that will help you finish the job without mishap:

1. Clean Your Furniture

First of all, before you do anything else, clean your fixture. This is especially important for items that have been kept in storage for a long time. Using oil soap usually does the trick. Don’t forget to remove any hardware, such as knobs and hinges.

2. Sand Away

Next, sand your furniture to get rid of that glossy finish. 400-grit sandpaper is the best tool for this task. Sanding will give the primer a smooth surface to stick onto. If you’re planning on re-staining the furniture, you will need to scrub off that entire layer of paint. But, if you’re only planning on repainting, just sand off the glossy layer. Don’t forget to brush off the dust, after!

3. Apply a Coat of Primer

Once your furniture is clean and dust-free, grab your paintbrush and coat the furniture with primer. This will cover any stains in the wood and help paint grab onto the surface better. Oil-based primers are best for this process.

4. Time to Paint

Finally, it’s time to paint! Latex paint in a semi-gloss finish is usually the best choice. In the long run, it will also make your furniture easier to clean. It’s also a good idea to have both a roller and a brush in hand. Rollers are great for those large and flat surfaces, while the brush can be used to reach all the nooks and crannies. Make sure to paint thin coats, and sand lightly between coats. This will ensure that your paint is even and perfect. Once you’re finished, let it dry for 24 hours.

5. Apply a Protective Layer

Once your paint is completely dry, coat your furniture in finishing wax. This will help preserve your item for years to come. Wipe it down with the wax, let it dry for thirty minutes, and buff it with a clean rag after. Once you’re done, leave your finished product for a day or two to help all the layers settle.

Some Helpful Tips and Design Suggestions

  • Remember that using different colors is absolutely allowed and recommended. Repainting an old piece of furniture different colors is a marvelous idea to showcase your personality.
  • If you’re updating a bedside table, keep the color scheme of the rest of the room in mind. What was once playing support to a brightly colored lamp or shiny throw pillow can now become a statement piece all on its own.
  • Refinishing is not just for indoor furniture. Take a look at what’s on your patio and see what you can update. A burst of brightly colored furniture will fully immerse you in the cheerful garden setting.

Give your old furniture a fresh look, and update your space by following this guide on refinishing and repainting.

[About the author: Jennifer Lutz explores a wide variety of home décor projects in her blog posts for www.christmastreemarket.com. She posted in April about rearranging and even repainting bookshelves to change the appearance of a room. You can find that post at http://blog.christmastreemarket.com/2013/04/4-fast-ways-to-a-better-more-stylish-bookshelf/. Image: Girl Like The Sea]

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